It is quite amazing to be enlightened by the Lord and realize that the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation (including the book of Exodus, which we are studying now) speaks concerning God’s eternal purpose, and that the goal of God’s eternal purpose is to have a corporate people to be His dwelling place for His expression and representation – not just in time but also in eternity (Eph. 2:21).
When we have such a view of the entire Bible, our Christian life will be revolutionized, because we will realize that God has a heart’s desire, and for His heart’s desire we are saved, regenerated, renewed, transformed, and even glorified.
The desire of God’s heart is nothing else but to have a dwelling place in and among His people; He wants to dwell in man and be fully one with man, having a corporate man to express Him and represent Him on earth and in the entire universe.
For this, in the Old Testament He chose a particular people – the people of Israel, and He delivered them out of Egypt, took them through some crucial experiences in the wilderness, brought them to the mountain of God to give them a revelation of His heart – the pattern of the tabernacle, and ordained that they would build His habitation.
The book of Exodus begins with the people of Israel being delivered from slavery and tyranny in Egypt and ends with the erecting of the tabernacle, which resulted in the glory of Jehovah filling the tabernacle and the cloud covering the tent of meeting.
At the end of the book of Exodus God gains what He is after, at least in type: He gains a sanctuary, a dwelling place among His people.
Hallelujah, today God wants to gain a built-up church as the Body of Christ, a church built up according to the vision of God’s economy as He revealed it through His holy apostles and prophets, so that He may dwell among men and in men, and His glory would fill the church and the cloud would cover it.
May we be those who see God’s desire and who are one with Him for His purpose, so that God would gain what He is after, the building up of His dwelling place for Him to be expressed and represented through His people.
The House of Israel with the Tabernacle Typifies the Church as the House of God
In the Old Testament times, the house of God was the house of Israel, represented by the tabernacle and later by the temple (see Lev. 22:18; Num. 12:7; Exo. 25:8; Ezek. 37:26-27). The center of the Old Testament was God’s dwelling place; first, God’s dwelling place was the tabernacle, and later it was the temple.
Actually, we can say that the Old Testament is a history of God’s dwelling place. God didn’t dwell in a “tent” or in a “building” – He dwelt in and among His people. The tabernacle and the temple were a symbol of the children of God as the real dwelling place of God.
In Genesis we see how God called Abraham and worked with him, then He worked and dwelt with Isaac, and then He dealt with and transformed Jacob to make him Israel, a prince of God, a mature person to express and represent God.
At the end of the book of Genesis we see an individual Israel as a miniature of God’s house to express God and represent Him by exercising His authority. Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, one who was not only transformed by God but also changed by Him to become one who simply overflows with life and blesses everyone.
And since Jacob and Joseph are spiritually one – and in the record in Genesis their story intertwines – Jacob reigned through Joseph and prophesied with blessing. Genesis ends in a glorious way by presenting us an individual Israel who was transformed and mature to express God and represent Him.
At the end of the book of Exodus, in a similar way, we see the corporate Israel being produced as the house of God to express Him and represent Him by exercising His authority on earth.
God’s goal is not that He would gain an individual Israel but a corporate people who has passed through a process and has cooperated with God to become His house, His expression and representation, to fulfill God’s original intention in creating man as seen in Gen. 1:26.
The children of Israel, as the people of God, are a type of us, the New Testament believers (see 1 Cor. 9:24 – 10:11). Their entire history is a prefigure of the church as the house of God (see Heb. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 4:17).
The process that the people of Israel went through points to the spiritual process and experiences we as believers pass through, and the consummation of their story in Exodus is the consummation that we will enter in also.
God doesn’t want to merely produce and gain individual spiritual believers who express God and represent Him; He wants to gain a built-up church, the temple of God, according to the pattern on the mountain, that is, according to the vision of God’s New Testament economy.
God wants to gain a built up church as the house of God as His corporate expression so that He may be expressed and represented in a corporate way.
Lord, gain what You are after: gain a built-up church as the house of God for Your expression and representation! Give us the experiences we need, Lord, that we may be those who pass through the process needed to produce us as building and built-up members of the Body of Christ today. Lord, gain a people who are transformed and built up to be Your corporate expression to represent You! Amen, Lord, may the church be built up today until it bears Your image and represents You with Your authority on earth!
The Goal of God’s Eternal Purpose is to have a Corporate People as His Dwelling Place
Both Genesis and Exodus end in God gaining His expression and representation; in Genesis we see an individual expression of God in Israel (the transformed and mature Jacob), and in Exodus we see a corporate people, Israel, who were one with God to build up and become God’s dwelling place on earth, thus enabling Him to fill them with His glory.
The goal of God’s eternal purpose is not to gain merely an individual Christian here and there who expresses God and deals with His enemy; what God is after today is a corporate people as His dwelling place to express Him and represent Him.
The goal of God’s redemption, salvation, provision, dealings, revelation, and heart’s desire is that He would have a corporate expression of Himself through His called and redeemed people.
God saved us from the world, separated us unto Himself through baptism, and He is daily supplying is, dealing with us, shining on us, revealing us His heart, and building us up for the purpose of gaining a corporate people as His dwelling place for His corporate expression.
Even more, today the Lord has a recovery: His original intention as revealed in the Bible has been lost, and many truths have been neglected, lost, and diluted, therefore He is recovering a people who has received His mercy and grace BACK to God’s original intention, back to God’s purpose.
By His mercy we are today in the Lord’s recovery, and we have to realize that we are not here for spirituality, holiness, victory, blessing, or a good church life; we are here for God’s eternal purpose. The Lord has shown us that the goal of His eternal purpose is to have a corporate people as His dwelling place, and the entire Bible ends with the New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle filled with God’s glory.
In the church life as God’s dwelling place we have the leading and guidance of our God: He is one with us, we are one with Him, and we are being built up together as His dwelling place for His corporate expression!
Before He comes back, the Lord wants to obtain a built-up church which He can fill with His glory and cover with His presence, giving them a taste of their eternal destiny! The Lord wants that we, at least in miniature or foretaste, would enjoy His glory filling the built-up church!
The books of Genesis and Exodus together consummate with God’s tabernacle, His dwelling place, filled with His glory (see Exo. 40:2, 34). Likewise, the entire Bible consummates in the New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle of God filled with the glory of God and exercising His authority for His divine administration for eternity (see Exo. 21:2-3, 10-11; 22:1, 5).
May the experience of Exodus 40 be lived out in every local church today. May we all be impressed with God’s eternal purpose and His intention to have a corporate people as His dwelling place. May we live in such a way that fulfills the desire of God’s heart and builds up the church as the dwelling place of God.
Lord, may we live in the desire of God’s heart. May we serve God for the desire of His heart. Lord, have mercy on us that we would live to see the fulfillment of the desire of God’s heart as the glory of God fills the tabernacle! Amen! Lord, we want to live a life for the fulfillment of Your eternal purpose, which is to gain a corporate people as Your dwelling place! Make the desire of Your heart become the desire of our heart. Gain in us and among us the reality of the dwelling place You are after today!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and, Life-study of Exodus, msg. 185 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), msg. 12 (week 48 in the HWMR), The Erecting of the Tabernacle and the Tabernacle, the Cloud, and the Glory Being a Full Type of the Triune God.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Now on the earth the church we see, / God’s kingdom here expressed, / Where He has full authority / His rule to manifest. / The place where Satan has to flee / Our mighty conquering rod, / The kingdom through the church will be / Brought to the earth for God. (Hymns #1296)
# As the product, the fulfillment, / Will the church in glory stand, / Consummation of the purpose / In eternal ages planned. / God will have His corporate vessel, / All His glory to contain; / Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose / All Thy goal in us attain. (Hymns #1325)
# Build me, Lord, with other saints, / Independence ne’er allow, / But according to Thy plan / Fitly frame and join me now. / In experience not my boast, / Nor in gifts would be my pride; / For Thy building I give all, / That Thou may be glorified. (Hymns #839)
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